Now that we have completed the 2016 Legislative Session, I wanted to update you on my accomplishments, make sure you know about key initiatives, and where to access information on new laws coming into effect later this year. As always, please feel free to contact my office at 703-606-9705 or firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of assistance.
I am proud of my work for you in Richmond. Working across the aisle, I was able to help make the Commonwealth a safer and fairer place. Here are some of my bills that have become law:
Prescription Monitoring Program
As a member of the Governor’s Taskforce on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, I have championed legislation to combat the epidemic we face. HB 293 makes exemptions for the physician’s requirement to use the PMP in cases of emergency, system failure, or for certain inpatient procedures ensuring regulations do not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. HB 657 ensures the PMP is used to track and investigate unusual or dangerous patterns of prescriptions. This is a crucial step forward in fighting heroin and prescription drug abuse.
HB 301 was conceived as a result of the increasing public attention to police brutality, particularly towards African Americans. I have always been and continue to be an ardent supporter of law enforcement. However, we have holes in the reporting of officer-involved shooting incidents. This law is important because it helps the FBI analyze patterns of behavior, and through increased transparency and accountability in reporting, it will increase public trust.
Crimes Against Minors
Under current law, the statute of limitations for certain misdemeanor sexual crimes against minors is only a year. A year may not be enough time for a victim of a sexual predator to come forward, especially when the person is a child. HB 510 will increase the statute of limitations to a year after the victim turns 18. This gives more time for the prosecution of the perpetrators.
Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship
Now, perhaps more than ever, students are developing technologies and launching their own businesses while matriculating at our institutions of higher education. HB 1230 ensures that all Virginia public universities have clear and easy to understand policies on student intellectual property rights. I was honored to work with Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Governor on this key initiative to create an environment fostering entrepreneurism and innovation.
HB 190 makes a technical change in the way the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority calculates population when making determinations in funding and project priorities, which will benefit our district due to shifting population projections for our area. Proper transportation funding is key for our region’s development and success.
Financial Exploitation of Seniors
HB 248 ensures a requirement and jurisdiction for investigation of seniors who have been exploited or thought to be exploited in an amount of $50,000. While this number may seem high, it is a first step to ensure we are adequately investigating potential elder abuse.
There have been many legislative success this year. You can access these and a full accounting of new laws coming into effect online at http://dls.virginia.gov/publications.html.
One such success is the Go Virginia Regional Grant Program that I was proud to see passed under our bipartisan leadership. It creates a system that works specifically toward each region’s economic development and an increase in job growth within the scope of regional needs.
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Charniele L. Herring